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With Cabbage being cited as ‘Manchester’s most exciting band’,  we at Northern Exposure were beyond excited when they agreed to headline our Northern Exposure gig for Musicians Against Homelessness at the Leadmill this November. Amazed that there are not more political bands at a time of such political unrest, Cabbage have made it their mission to spread the word of the common people through their unique sound, described by themselves as an ‘idiosyncratic, satirical attack in the form of discordant neo-post-punk’.

With Lee Broadbent on lead vocals,  Joe Martin on vocals and guitar, Eoghan Clifford on guitar, Stephen Evans on bass and Asa Morley on drums, they were keen to come and support the cause. Like all our fabulous bands that night, they played free of charge and donated a load of signed goodies to be raffled off as well allowing more money to be raised for Musicians Against Homelessness. We were very lucky to catch Joe in between soundchecks to discuss the gig and why it was so important for Cabbage to show their support in this way.

I’m here talking to Joe from Cabbage before their performance at The Leadmill tonight as part of our Musicians Against Homelessness gig. Thank you so much for playing tonight.

‘Tis a pleasure.

Why was it important for you to be involved in MAH gig?

This is a huge huge issue in this country that has snowballed out of control. Certainly, in the last five years, it has got predominantly worse and worse and nothing has been done about homelessness. On top of that, services are being cut so instead of looking to improve the problem it’s getting dramatically worse. It doesn’t help also that the media industry in this country kind of rates homelessness and these people as second-rate citizens and it doesn’t give them a chance to better themselves. I mean, we’ve done gigs in different European cities over the summer and there’s a huge change in the attitude to helping people. There’s a charity across the UK called Emmaus https://www.emmaus.org.uk and it’s been running since 1902. It’s been taking in homeless people and giving them a job. It’s a huge shop that takes in second-hand clothes and old furniture and gives people somewhere to live and a job and gets them back on their feet. The thing is, if you don’t have a registered address there’s not much you can do. Once you fall down on your luck it’s very hard to get up and start again.

Obviously, we have a conservative government but equally, we have a lot of labour councils who aren’t doing anything for homelessness and it seems to be escalating out of control really. But I do think there’s a lot of younger people who are looking to actively change things and there are a lot of good schemes being set up like Manchester Angels https://www.manchesterstreetangels.com Apart from those people who read the Daily Mail and The Sun, there are people looking to help people and give them a chance. But if the funding is cut as much as it has done then it’s very difficult to get back into society. So, stuff like this happening is brilliant.

I know being involved in this is very important to you. Have you done anything like this in the past?

We’ve never done a gig before for MAH because of how busy we’ve been but it’s very good to be involved.

It’s just been announced that there are over 300,000 people homeless in the UK -these are the latest figures – how can you see that improving or changing? Can you see a way forward from this?

Public spending has been cut hugely. Further education colleges have been slashed to bits, to the point where they have to be really harsh with their spending and they can’t even give teachers a pay rise so in terms of finding the funding to support the homeless I really can’t see it. I can only see it getting worse sadly. It’s very hard. Equally, there’s very little funding put into drugs and alcohol services – these amazing places with such brilliant and inspiring people and the organisations that they work for are hanging by a thread and it’s terrible. We have loads of talented drugs and alcohol workers whose skills are going to waste because we’re not funding it. And there has to be some kind of positive way of getting people back into society.

And that’s where it needs to start really because if those services aren’t plugged and supported the homeless issue will only get worse.

Exactly. We only have to look at different countries in Europe -Holland for example, despite being very open with certain drug laws, they don’t have the homeless problem we have here. If they only just started helping people out with drug and alcohol problems here and offering that help and support rather than viewing them like second class citizens, it would go a long way, to be honest. If you have a drug problem and you don’t have a registered address you can’t get a script to help you. We have loads of empty buildings if they could just give them access to them, even if you just gave them a post box and say ‘You can get your mail from here’,  it’s a start to initiate change.

There just don’t seem to be any ideas coming up. A taxi driver I was talking to the other day said that all the mills around us in our local area [Manchester] while they’re being regenerated and worked on, they could house thousands of people. It’s not much but say, ‘Here – this is what we’ve got for you for now and while you’re here you can work on getting somewhere proper to live or some help or some work.’ But there’s nothing. The taxi driver was saying, ‘If I can come up with ideas then why can’t the politicians come up with answers?’

Sadly they won’t as it costs money.

Exactly.

So, how do you feel about playing at Sheffield’s iconic Leadmill?

We’ve played here once before in the big room supporting Blossoms. Just Sheffield as a city is great –  it has a rich rich history despite not being one of the biggest cities. The amount of decent bands its produced is phenomenal really. It’s one of those cities where every band is entirely different – it’s just a great mix of different musicians really. We played Don Valley Bowl with Milburn and Rev and the Makers this year – we got to meet Rev John Maclure for the first time. That was brilliant!

Amazing gig – we were there and had a great time!

The Rev was there saying that he’s the Daddy of political music in the UK and what not – he is very vocal about his views which is good! We played Tramlines Festivals here this summer at one of the outdoor stages just before it started pissing it down so that was lucky that was a really good gig -a really warm community of people in Sheffield.  Really good people.

Any upcoming news from you guys?

We’ve just released dates for a tour coming up in February in the usual haunts and we have a brand new album coming out in March – our first one with Infectious Records. We have released an EP recently but this will be our first album.

Well, thank you for your time, Joe. Enjoy the gig!

Cheers!

GIGS:

JAN31
Wed 19:30 · by CABBAGE
Kingston upon Hull
FEB1
Thurs 19:30 · by CABBAGE
Nottingham
FEB2
Fri 19:30 · by CABBAGE
FEB3
Sat 18:00 · by CABBAGE
Sheffield
FEB7
Wed 19:30 · by CABBAGE
Southampton
FEB9
Fri 19:00 · by CABBAGE
FEB10
Sat 19:00 · by CABBAGE
FEB14
Wed 19:00 · by CABBAGE
Times Square, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4EP
FEB15
Thurs 19:00 · by CABBAGE
FEB16
Fri 19:00 · by CABBAGE
FEB17
Sat 19:00 · by CABBAGE
Birmingham

RTR

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KATE O’BRIEN

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